spots are a widespread oozing area of inflamed skin. If caught in
the early stages, it is possible for an owner to treat successfully
with a trip to the vets. Treat Hot Spots by:
1. Clipping away fur untill
healthy skin is apparent.
2. Cleanse area to
remove all exudates and debris, such as scabs and to cool the
skin. Your vet will possibly prescribe Hibi Scrub for this.
Alternatively you can try one teaspoon of salt in a pint of warm water
3. Topical treatment
such as Fuciderm obtained from your vet applied twice daily
4. A 5 day course
of antibiotics given orally
of Hot Spot
|Impacted Anal Sacs
|At Base of Tail
Near Ear Opening
|Empty Anal Sacs
Treat Ear Infection
Hot Spots, Just What are These
Acute Moist Dermatitis
Hot Spots! Just What Are
You make an appointment with
your veterinarian because your dog is chewing incessantly at
some wet, raw looking skin lesion. And it seems to be
noticeably bigger than it was just hours ago. This is getting to
look nasty. You show it to your neighbor and they say your
dog has a "Hot Spot". What the heck is that, you ask?
Also known as Summer Sores or Moist Eczema, Hot Spots can seemingly
appear spontaneously anywhere on a dog's body and the area involved can
rapidly spread. This moist, raw skin disorder has a variety of
causes but the most consistent factor is bacteria. There are a number
of kinds of bacteria that can be cultured from a "hot
spot" and fortunately most respond to oral and topical antibiotics.
Anything that irritates or breaks the skin can create the environment
for bacterial contamination if the skin surface has just a bit of
on it. That moisture can be present from a recently given bath,
from swimming or being out in the rain, from rolling in wet grass or
even from a slightly oozing sore that provides nutrients for
bacteria. For some reason, cats rarely acquire Hot Spots;
in our feline friends are far less common than in the dog.
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a look at some photos of Moist Eczema... you can call them Hot Spots,
on the images to enlarge)
|This Golden Retriever developed
a hot spot under each ear and this severe moist eczema developed in
less than 24 hours! Both ears and both sides of the dog's face
needed to be clipped and cleaned while under light anesthesia.
| Treatment continued with topical
peroxide every two hours, systemic antibiotics to combat the deep
skin infection and a single, short acting corticosteroid to stop the
inflammatory reaction. Oral antibiotics and topical medication
are continued for at least a week, and two weeks is even better.
of a minor Hot Spot. But even this little lesion
could spread rapidly and
become as severe as the case above.
|A Typical Hot Spot... and How
Click on an image to enlarge in a new window
this photo we can see, now that the fur has been parted, the raw,
weeping circular Hot Spot. These often spread under the cover of the
fur so that by the time you notice them they are well established and
spreading. This particular case of Moist Eczema may have been
caused by a tick bite. The fur is
shaved over the moist eczema to facilitate application of medication as
well as to allow drying.
area well beyond the margins
of the lesion should be shaved. That tiny black spot at the top
of the Hot Spot is an area where the skin has actually died and may be
where a tick was attached. Why one tick will trigger Moist Eczema
and others won't is still a mystery. If every tick bite caused
much reaction the magnitude of skin problems in dogs would be
cleaning of the Hot
Spot, even every two hours for the first day or two, will speed up the
healing. Also, any topical anti-bacterial ointment will
the growth of the bacteria. These skin lesions can take a
week to finally dry and look like they are going to heal. Once
are no longer oozing, simply keeping the Hot Spot area clean will be
that's needed. The fur begins to grow back (sometimes a different
color!) within two weeks.
severe case of active moist eczema on a Golden Retriever (different
from the case displayed above) shows how extensive the infection can be
and the degree of damage a Hot Spot can do to the skin of a dog.
This case has been shaved and cleaned; vigorous treatment with
antibiotics and cleansers is started. Rarely will a scar be
a consequence of Hot Spots but scarring can happen.
|Veterinary medical attention is
needed with these cases!
So, now you know about Hot Spots, Moist Eczema and Summer Sores.
They really do seem much more prevalent in the summer months.
They can cause severe itching and self-trauma because the infection
the deep layers of the skin. That's
why Hot Spots may take two weeks to finally look like they are going
to heal. On occasion if a dog has extensive and deep
areas of Moist Eczema, oral antibiotics and antihistamines may need
to be prescribed and large areas of skin will be shaved.
Watch for these skin sores and keep your dog well groomed especially in
hot seasons. Any dog that has matted, dirty hair coat is at greater
risk of developing Hot Spots. Many owners will have their long
or thick-furred dog shaved closely in the summer.
This really does help prevent the thick coat from covering any dampness
on the surface of the skin. By the fur covering any accumulated
dampness and not allowing evaporation, the wet skin surface is a
perfect environment for bacterial growth and invasion of the skin
This Lick Granuloma on the left may
have started as a simple "Hot Spot" on the dog's foreleg.
Repeated infections and irritation from licking have created scar
tissue and chronic infection. A severe Lick Granuloma may result
if persistent treatment is not performed. Hot Spots seem to
be mostly a summertime problem but can occur any time. If your
dog needs veterinary help for any skin lesion, don't delay in making
of dermatological problems are avoided if the dog or cat is consuming
an optimum diet. In some cases, adding a supplement such as
DermCaps, a popular Omega Fatty Acid supplement with a number of
beneficial ingredients, is the key factor in avoiding repeated episodes
of Hot Spots and other skin afflictions. If your dog or cat seems
to lack good coat and skin health, consider upgrading the diet to a
meat-based ingredient formula and adding a supplement such as
DermCaps. The first ingredient
listed in the pet food Ingredient List on the pet food label should be
a meat such as chicken, lamb, poultry, beef or fish; if it is
it up! Meat based pet food are far superior in nutritional
than grain based pet foods. For much more information on how to
a proper pet food for your dog or cat, visit the IMPORTANT TOPICS
back to top
Acute Moist Dermatitis
contributed by John Macdonald-Cuordha Goldens
"This disorder is caused by
self induced trauma as the patient bites, rubs, or scratches at a part
of its body in an attempt to alleviate some pain or itch. The majority
of cases are complications of flea bite hypersensitivity, but allergic
skin diseases, other ectoparasites, anal sac problems, inflammations
as otitis externa (inflamed ears), foreign bodies in the coat, irritant
substances, dirty unkempt coats, psychoses and painful musculoskeletal
disorders may be underlying causes. Owners usually believe that some
producing a diet that is too rich may create the problem, but only a
essential fatty acid deficiency has been shown to be a cause. These
initiate the itch-scratch cycle.
The intense trauma produces sever large lesions in a few hours. Animal
particularly disposed to this problems are those with a heavy
coat that has a dense undercoat, such as Golden and Labrador
German Shepherds, Collies and St. Bernards. The problem is much more
common in hot humid weather and may have something to do with lack of
ventilation in the coat. A typical lesion is red, moist and oozing.
is a crust of proteinaceous exudate in the center of the area
by a halo of red skin.
The hair is lost from the area, but the margins are sharply defined
from the surrounding normal skin and hair. The lesion progresses
rapidly if appropriate therapy is not started at once. Much pain is
associated with the local area, and this may eventually deter the
animal from further trauma. Lesions are often located in close
proximity to the primary painful process, i.e., near infected ears,
anal sacs and flea bites on the rump.
A study of the type of bacteria found in lesions of pyotraumatic
dermatitis reveals multiple organisms, with Staphyloccus intermedius
being the most common. It also showed that the St. Bernard and Golden
dogs tended to have a deeper pus producing infection. Diagnosis is made
by the history of acute onset, the physical appearance, and the
with a more or less primary cause. If the condition is persistent or
consider bacterial hair follicle inflammation, fungal infections,
infections, yeast infections or neoplasia (lymphosarcoma or sweat gland
carcinoma) as differential diagnoses. True pyotraumatic dermatitis is a
relatively flat, eroded to ulcerated lesion. Lesions that are
thickened. plaque like and bordered by papules (bumps) and or pustules
should always suggest a primary eruptive process, especially a
Therapy is effective if applied promptly and vigorously. Sedation or
anesthesia is usually needed to allow thorough cleansing of the area.
Cleansing is the first and most important step in local therapy. The
hair is clipped away from the lesion and the skin is thoroughly cleaned
with a mild antiseptic solution or scrub such as povidone-iodine. A
single application of 5% tannic acid and 5% salicylic acid in 70%
alcohol is used as an
astringent. This can be followed by wet soaks with 5% aluminum acetate
(Domeboro solution) applied three or four times daily for 10 minutes
time. This action is drying, astringent and antiseptic. Topical
application of antibiotic cream three times daily is useful. Five days
of systemic corticosteroids in anti-inflammatory doses (prednisolone
1.1 mg/kg SID) is useful in alleviating the pruritis, pain and local
inflammation. As the lesion becomes dry and crusted, topical medication
should be changed to softening creams and emollients.
At the time of the initial treatment, it is most important to find the
predisposing factor and eliminate or modify it to stop the patient's
self-trauma. The treatment to accomplish this varies, depending on the
Clients always clamor for ways to prevent future lesions, since some
unfortunate dogs may have repeated problems. There is no simple
means of prevention. However, constant attention to grooming, hygiene,
baths and parasite control and periodic cleaning of the ears and anal
will help. Owners should be particularly vigilant during periods of
humid weather. Although diet is often suggested as a cause, except for
severe fatty acid deficiency or food hypersensitivity this has never
above article was taken from "Small Animal Dermatology, Fourth edition
and was authored by Muller, Kirk and Scott.
reprinted with kind permission from John Chandler,
Tiffani M. Beckman,
Hotspots (also called moist
dermatitis or lick granulomas) are unfortunately becoming common in
every breed - and in mixed breeds - of dog. They are usually symptoms
of something else going wrong internally, and need to be looked at as
warning signs. Hotspots have many different causes. Your
should be able to help you pinpoint the problem. A change in diet is
always the best bet - most dogs on a natural, raw diet do not develop
hotspots, or if they do it is part of the detox reaction. Here are some
common things to help hotspots to heal without suppressing the immune
Vet Asst. & Student of Veterinary Medicine
1. Apply a cool slice of cucumber to the area. Let
the dog eat it when it warms up - it works well on the outside as
well as on the inside.
2. Brew a cup of chamomile tea, leaving the tea bag in the cup
to cool. When tea is cool, use tea bag to apply the tea to
the area. Let dog drink tea - it works to soothe on the outside (the
tannic acid in tea also acts like an astringent) and calms them when
3. Shave the area around the hotspot to get air to it and help
4. Aloe Vera gel, freshly squeezed from the plant, helps
to calm and heal. It can be ingested as well to work on the inside.
5. Internally, echinacea, Vitamin C and garlic all help to
boost the immune system. Garlic should be given fresh, about 1 clove
per day for 5 days for medium to large-sized dogs, decreasing in amount
for smaller dogs, but should not be given to really young pups or to
with anemia problems. Echinacea should be given for 5 days, rest for 2,
then give for 5 days again. Give vitamin C up to bowel tolerance.
6. Sometimes a hotspot is indicative of a chiropractic problem.
An appointment with a certified animal chiropractor can often help.
7. Here's a recipe to make up and store in the refrigerator -
1/2 cup very strong tea, 1 cup rubbing alcohol, and 2 crushed aspirin.
Stir this up and soak the hotspot with it several times a day until
gone. This may sting a bit with an open sore, so use a bit at a
time to make sure it doesn't sting too much.
8. Sprinkle goldenseal powder on the animal's food and in the
water, scaling the human dosage down to the animal's weight. Do not use
too much or for more than 5 days on, 2 days off. You can also apply the
goldenseal root to the hotspot, just make a weak tea out of it. Is
perfectly fine if it is licked off. Never use goldenseal if pregnant.
9. Put a large handful of spearmint or peppermint leaves
in a glass container and cover with distilled white vinegar. Allow to
steep at room temp for 2 weeks. Shake from time to time. Strain.
Apply the liquid to any sore on the animal and to clean wounds; this
stops itching and allows wounds to heal. Do not use mint if you are
giving a homeopathic remedy - the mint might cancel it out.
10. Apply Willard Water (diluted) to the hotspot.
11. Ask a homeopathic vet about Radium Bromatum - it may
12. Try a Bach Flower Remedy - Crab Apple. It is specifically
indicated for skin problems such as hotspots. If the cause of the
hotspot is emotionally related, check into other flower remedies. There
are many to choose from and can help heal the troubles that reside
13. Rescue remedy applied directly on the hotspot.
14. Calendula cream or hyper/cal (hypericum and calendula)
cream applied directly to hotspot.
15. Here is a nice recipe for all icky skin - 1 quart water, 1
heaping tsp. dried sage, 1 heaping tsp.thyme, and 1/4 tsp. Epsom salt.
Boil everything together ~ 5 minutes and then let it sit overnight.
Strain off the herbs and refrigerate unused portion. You can also add
it to shampoo and make a "medicated" shampoo. Usable as a rinse for ant
hot spots, fleas, etc. Thanks to Karen Perdue for this great
As you can see, none of these are drugs, which suppress the immune
system. Suppressing the immune system is not recommended, because
it only drives the problem deeper into the body, and the next symptom
may not be hotspots but something much more serious. If your dog chews
herself out of boredom - give her a job to do! A large meaty bone, more
exercise, more training - this can help break the cycle of a lick
granuloma. The healthier you make the body, the fewer problems
you are going to see. And a properly made home diet is the best
and easiest way to boost the immune system.
This article is Copyright ©
1998 No reprints without expressed permission.
**Disclaimer - I am not a
vet. Please check with your vet before trying any new treatments
reprinted with kind permission from Tiffani
The above information is simply
informational. It's intent is not to replace the advice of a
veterinarian nor to assist you
in making a diagnosis of your pet. Please consult with your own
veterinarian for confirmation of any diagnosis. Your pets life may
depend on it.